“And [Hannah] said [to Eli the Priest], “Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord.”” (1 Sam. 1:26–28, ESV)
Hannah was barren and desperately wanted children. She promised the LORD that He could have her firstborn if He would give her a child. The LORD did give her a child and in the text above Hannah follows through on her promise. God would go on to use Hannah’s son Samuel in a great way as judge and prophet.
Understanding that dedicating our children to the LORD is no guarantee of their salvation (they themselves must place their faith in the Savior), there are several things we can learn from Hannah.
You should be willing to give to God what is most precious to you. Hannah greatly desired to have children. She had no guarantees that the LORD would provide her with more children after Samuel (though He did). Samuel was the precious blessing that Hannah had prayed for, yet she left Samuel to be raised in the Temple that he could serve the LORD. Our children are our most precious possession, but we need to give them to God.
You should be willing to die to your goals and dreams for your children. Hannah surely wanted a child to bring happiness to her home and security in her old age. There are things we greatly desire for our children. Health. Wealth. Happiness. Marriage. Children. What we want for our children is not necessarily what is best for them in their relationship with the LORD. We must be willing to die to our goals for them.
You must accept God’s goals for your children. Samuel was greatly used of the LORD during a difficult time in Israel’s history. God does great things when we surrender our dreams for His purposes. God never promised His children an easy life. Difficult things may be what God has planned for our children, but we must accept that He does with them what is best.
God knows better than us what is best for our children. Instead of pushing our children towards our hopes and dreams for them, we should direct them to a life of surrender to the LORD.
Further reading: 1Sam. 1-2; Deu. 6.4-7; Prov. 22.6;
David Harris is the Senior Pastor at Faith Baptist Church. A former programmer, in his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife Kim and trying his hand at the illusive craft of smoking meat.